U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

AFRL - Sensors Research Opportunities

AFRL/RY Sensors Directorate

Research Facilities and Programs:

AFRL/RY Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

The Sensors Directorate is the single Air Force organization tasked to produce game-changing, aerospace sensing technologies. We develop sensor technology for air- and space-borne applications under five Core Technical Competencies: RF Sensing; EO Sensing; Spectrum Warfare; Layered Sensing Exploitation; and Enabling Components and Devices. Research within the Directorate is conducted in laboratory facilities at the Wright Patterson AFB and by contractors and academic institutions across the nation.

Exploratory and advanced development is conducted in RF, microwave, and EO sensors and countermeasures. Specific research areas include both theoretical and applied antenna technology, electromagnetic scattering phenomenology, aperture development, precision navigation reference technology, synthetic aperture laser radar, organic and inorganic photonics and optoelectronics, and infrared sensors and sensing technology. There are also research opportunities in computational physics, electromagnetics and electronics for signal processing, waveform agile radar processing, and innovative dismount threat signature discovery. Sensors has recently stood up laboratories exploring the protection of modern avionics and software. We have modern device fabrication facilities supporting research opportunities in semiconductor laser source phenomenology and development, printed devices in photonics and electronics, and plasmonic and metamaterial enhancements for multispectral sensing.

The Sensors Directorate has numerous state-of-the-art laboratory spaces. RF laboratories include an outdoor radar range with L-, S-, and X-band radar units which are reconfigurable and programmable with arbitrary waveform generation capabilities, and an indoor radar range hosting operations between 400 MHz and 50GHz with a 12’ x 12 ‘ quiet zone. Advanced antenna labs provide in-house capability to design, fabricate, and characterize novel antenna apertures and arrays and include a specialized computer network and electromagnetic code suite for modeling and simulation and analysis of antennas. A variety of laboratory facilities support passive and active EO sensing research, ranging from optical laboratories to field and flight test support facilities. We also maintain elevated laboratories providing an unobstructed view of a controlled range for extended range testing up to 3 kilometers. Layered Sensing Exploitation employs several key facilities to develop and mature algorithm technology and characterize and project performance to relevant conditions. Enabling Components and Devices synthesis capabilities include bulk crystal growth, traditional epitaxial growth and thin-film deposition. Material characterization labs are collocated to provide necessary characterization of emerging electronic material systems.

To gain access to the base and to Sensors Directorate facilities and Laboratories it is required that applicants are U.S. citizens.


James Vital
Assistant to Chief Scientist
2241 Avionics Circle
Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio 45433-7320